Spurs show Ronaldo & Real are not back to their best... yet!

Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Real Madrid v Tottenham, Champions League 2017/18
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The European champions had much of the play at home to Tottenham on Tuesday, but are still struggling to finish off teams at the moment

Real Madrid are still short of their brilliant best. The current champions of Spain, Europe and also the world at club level were unable to beat a spirited Tottenham side at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday and there is something missing from their armoury at the moment.

Spurs 8/5 to win CL Group H

Los Blancos dominated for much of the evening, but went behind when Raphael Varane turned a Serge Aurier cross into his own net before levelling thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty just before half-time.

Madrid could have given away a spot-kick themselves earlier on as Casemiro took out Fernando Llorente, while Harry Kane missed a glorious opportunity to win the match for Spurs in the closing stages when Keylor Navas pushed his shot just around the post.

For all their quality, especially Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in midfield, and also young right-back Achraf Hakimi, Madrid were not quite their clinical selves in attack, even though Hugo Lloris made a string of superb saves in the Tottenham goal.

Ronaldo hit the post early on with a header and Karim Benzema failed to hit the target with the rebound with a large part of the goal open wide. That miss drew criticism on Twitter from Gary Lineker, who wrote: "Is it me or is Benzema a tad overrated? A goal every other game in a team as strong as Real Madrid is nada especial. Decent not great."

Benzema, however, is valued so highly at Real for more than just goals. The French forward's subtle link-up play gives Madrid so much and Ronaldo, in particular, enjoys playing with the 29-year-old striker.

Kane, the man in form, was unable to put his name on the scoresheet either in a match that had been billed as a possible audition amid reported interest in Madrid for his signature.

In the end, there were 22 attempts from Real and eight of those by Ronaldo, with the Portuguese not quite hitting the heights this season despite adding another Champions League goal to his impressive tally.



At the other end, there were 15 attempts for Mauricio Pochettino's side and the north Londoners could even have won all three points. From Madrid's point of view, there were too many chances conceded, and two few chances converted.

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It is a similar story at home for Zinedine Zidane's side this season. In La Liga, draws at the Bernabeu against Valencia and Levante have frustrated fans, while Real also lost to Betis at home. The only wins here have come against APOEL and Espanyol.

It is early days, of course. Last season, Madrid drew home and away against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League group stage, before finding form in the knockout stages, with Ronaldo on fire in the latter stages of the competition.

Ronaldo plans his fitness programme to peak in April and May these days and that is likely to be the same again this time around, but the team are lacking some of his killer instinct in attack right now and Zidane will hope his side can click into top gear sooner rather than later after another slight slip at home.